Back in October 2014, as co-Chair of Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus (MLGC), one of the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ choirs, Kathryn Pierce (then known as Kathryn Fox) created an anti-hate crime campaign in response to an attack on two young gay men singing songs from the musical “Wicked” on a city centre tram in Manchester.
The two men received homophobic abuse on the tram and when they disembarked, they were set upon by a gang and subjected to a violent attack.
The idea of the campaign was to reclaim the centre of Manchester as a safe space for people to sing and be LGBTQ+ openly on public transport. The subsequent “Safe To Sing” event Kathryn created took place on 17 November 2014 and involved the choir taking to the trams and singing in protest, culminating in an outdoor mass performance in Piccadilly Gardens.
The level of engagement and subsequent response to the campaign was overwhelming, with messages and emails and news coverage from all over the world. There were people who contacted us to thank us for taking a stand, there were others who enjoyed the spectacle itself, there were others who had been victims of homophobic hate crime who thanked us for the opportunity to reply to that violence in a constructive and creative way, alongside their fellow LGBTQ+ community members.
The choir won awards (Spirit of Manchester “Most Successful Campaign” 2015, Inclusive Networks’ “Social Network of the Year” award 2015) and were nominated for others (National Diversity Award “Community Organisation”; Manchester City Council Be Proud Awards “Community Force” finalist; Spirit of Manchester “Equalities Award” finalist). Kathryn was nominated Positive Role Model at the National Diversity Awards at the end of 2015 and for the LGBT Foundation’s Role Model of the Year award early 2016.
Creating a platform for positive LGBTQ+ culture, learning and activism resulted in the idea for Somewhere. This was developed between 2015-2017 as a postgraduate enterprise research project "Somewhere MCR" at Manchester Business School, which included a successful concept prototype and Big-Lottery-funded community consultation.
In 2017, Founder Kathryn Pierce relocated Somewhere's community hub further north in Scotland, one of the most progressive and inclusive LGBTQ+ places in Europe, and in 2018, Somewhere EDI Community Interest Company was established.
Co-founded alongside co-Director Thomas Anderson-Thatcher, in November 2020 the Somewhere: For Us magazine finally launched, as the main platform for us to connect up and champion Scotland's LGBTQ+ community, and also to create a new source of community-led funding to increase LGBTQ+ visibility in culture and enterprise across the country and beyond. Added to this our Rainbow Enterprise Network is designed to create a collaborative and supportive space for queer businesses to be themselves at work and to live authentic working and home lives.
Fantastic and successful collaboration with the RNLI for Issue 6 and a celebration of Love and Pride for Issue 7. More community funds distributed. Strategic Partnership with the Fringe Society continues. Rainbow Enterprise Network continuing to flourish. Looking to in real life events from late summer. Scholarship recipient mentoring continues.
Hugely successful Issue 2 followed in February, in collaboration with Beano Studios in Dundee. Our Pride Issue 3 followed in May - especially important as all in real life Pride events had been cancelled. Issue 4 soon followed in August championing the festivals, and Issue 5 in November brought panto mayhem to keep us entertained over the winter. The Rainbow Enterprise Network membership continued to grow hitting double figures early in the year. Our first community funds were distributed. Thomas was named finalist in Community Champion category at Proud Scotland Awards 2021.
November - Launch issue published and released. Rainbow Enterprise Network soft launch.
October - New Scholarship recipient starts at University of Edinburgh Business School. Founder Kath Pierce named finalist in 2020 Proud Scotland Awards, in Community Champion category. Last stages of magazine preparation for launch. New Collaborative Doctoral Award research begins, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh.
August/September - Somewhere at the Fringe Community Consultation and research project completes.
March - September - COVID19
Launch of new Somewhere: For Us is delayed due to COVID19, though funding is secured to ensure it will launch
February (LGBT History Month) - promotion of crowdfunding and subscription site for Somewhere: For Us magazine. Promotion of Somewhere MBA LGBT+ Scholarship, open to applicants until May 8 2020. Begin PhD internship with University of Glasgow, focusing on LGBTQ+ representation at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
January - Preparations, research and recruitment begins for the production of Somewhere: For Us magazine, due to launch in May 2020
November - Awarded grant funding from UnLtd to develop and launch a new Scotland-focused LGBTQ+ magazine in 2020.
Awarded an AHRC-funded PhD internship through the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities (SHSAH) starting January 2020, focusing on LGBT+ arts/culture and Edinburgh Festival Fringe participation.
September - Mentorship for Somewhere MBA LGBT+ Scholarship begins. University of Strathclyde Management Science Masters student research project completes. Nominated Host Organisation for Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities Internship for 2020. Application for Collaborative Doctoral Award sent to HEI network to establish partnership.
August -Somewhere at the Fringe 2019 with nine volunteer interviewers and reviewers, clocking up nearly 1500 website visitors during July and August. Somewhere invited to take part in the Festival Sustainabliity and Corporate Social Responsibility Hub event
July - Masters internship with Strathclyde University begins, looking into minority entrepreneurship data availability and data gaps.
February - Somewhere MBA LGBT+ Scholarship launched, a mentoring partnership with the University of Edinburgh Business School. Application deadline: 10 May
January - final stages of enterprise project development. New cultural partnership in development (details to come)
December - Founder Kathryn Pierce graduates from University of Manchester with MEnt (Merit) in Arts and Cultural Management (joint degree with Institute of Cultural Practices and Manchester Enterprise Centre)
October -November - Ongoing discussions and and development of first major enterprise project (announcement due February 2019)
August - Successful rollout of Somewhere At The Fringe. Founder Kathryn Pierce awarded Master of Enterprise in Arts and Cultural Management, with Merit
July - Somewhere: At The Fringe is our first LGBTQ+ Culture project, creating a go-to place for news, reviews, interviews and features from the LGBTQ+ shows at this year's Edinburgh Fringe
May - Somewhere EDI Community Interest Company is founded, and Somewhere MCR dissolved
February - present: Launching in Scotland as Somewhere LGBT+ Culture and Enterprise Hub (incorporated as Somewhere EDI Community Interest Company, registered in Scotland, company number SC596856)
January - Master of Enterprise degree dissertation submitted
November - Decision taken to make Somewhere MCR a tech social enterprise based in Manchester, and relocate Somewhere's community hub idea to Edinburgh, Scotland as Somewhere EDI, and pivot the business design according to need and opportunity
July to November - Academic research phase: Study into career-based experiences and motivations for entrepreneurship among a diverse sample of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, for Master of Enterprise (MEnt) degree in Arts and Cultural Management, at the Institute of Cultural Practices at the University of Manchester
May and June - Deutsche Bank Creative Enterprise Awards Finalist 2017 (Performance category) and Venture Further 2017 Awards Runner Up (social category), Manchester Business School
March to December - Community engagement and co-creative phase: Survey, Somewhere Pioneer research panel, Big Lottery funded Community Consultation project involving 230+ people. Results showed strong interest and demand for this new way to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people
January - Completed Lloyds Bank funded School of Social Entrepreneurs programme (NorthWest branch)
October - Business ideation phase begins: Campaign awards, shortlisting and nominations lead into early organisational development at Manchester Business School
15th September - Perpetrator of tram attack jailed in Manchester
12th August - Somewhere MCR Community Interest Company is founded as the project pilot. (Company registered in England and Wales, no. 9730111)
17th November - Safe to Sing event, with significant media and social impact
3rd November - Safe to Sing event and campaign launched, making global headlines
1st November - Homophobic attack on Jean-Claude Manseau and Jake Heaton, who were singing on a city-centre tram in Manchester
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